Farewell, My Queen

Image: copyright Carole Bethuel

Les Adieux à la Reine

“What could be more timely… than the picture of a gilded, pampered elite provoking the wrath of the public?” — Jonathan Romney, Screendaily

Year: 2012
Country: France
Running time: 100 mins
Censor Rating: M - nudity

Producers: Jean-Pierre Guérin, Kristina Larsen, Pedro Uriol
Screenplay: Gilles Taurand, Benoit Jacquot. Based on the novel by Chantal Thomas
Photography: Romain Winding
Editor: Luc Barnier
Music: Bruno Coulais
In French and English, with English subtitles

With: Léa Seydoux (Sidonie Laborde), Diane Kruger (Marie-Antoinette), Virginie Ledoyen (Gabrielle de Polignac), Xavier Beauvois (Louis XVI), Noémie Lvovsky (Madame Campan), Michel Robin (Jacob Nicolas Moreau), Julie-Marie Parmentier (Honorine), Lolita Chammah (Alice), Marthe Caufman (Paolo)

Festivals: Berlin, San Francisco 2012

The last days of Marie-Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and the royal court at Versailles are seen through the eyes of a servant (Léa Seydoux) in a spectacular French historical drama that is subtly inflected with modern intelligence. Much of the film was indeed shot at Versailles and director Benoit Jacquot keeps the action within the Palace, immersing us in a gilded world supremely unprepared for the fate advancing towards it. — BG

“Based on a novel by Chantal Thomas, the concise screenplay traces the routing of France’s 18th-century aristocracy from the perspective of the decadent blue bloods themselves but more often from the point of view of their downstairs maids, who are smartly individualized and believable. Maybe the film’s biggest intuition is casting the brooding, modern face of Léa Seydoux in the role of Sidonie Laborde, the haughty young reader to Marie-Antoinette who becomes embroiled in the Queen’s love affair with Mme de Polinac (Virginie Ledoyen).

Living in the forlorn poverty of the servants’ quarters, the girl is thrilled to be called into the presence of the beautiful, glamorous Marie- Antoinette, played with teary-eyed passion and, yes, more than a touch of laughable frivolity by a charismatic Diane Kruger.” — Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

“The personal dynamic is greatly enhanced by lavish period details… Jacquot uses a shrewdly minimalist approach, at once capturing the vast overabundance of affluence that surrounds the Queen in every corner of Versailles… The architecture isn’t just a framing device; it represents a state of mind.” — Eric Kohn, indieWIRE


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